It's no secret that cycling helps your legs, but it may be a surprise to learn the number of ways your legs are improved through bicycling. Your legs supply the power to push the pedals to turn the wheels to move the bike. This simple circular motion is varied to improve your muscular strength, endurance and power. You'll even discover your balance is better.
Hill climbs improve the strength and tone of your legs. You use the force of your legs to push the pedals when you cycle up a steep hill. If you cycle indoors, set the tension on heavy and pedal at a steady pace for five minutes to simulate a hill climb and increase your muscular strength. Perform hill climbs once or twice a week, as your legs require a day of recovery for strength gains.
Cycling improves the endurance of the muscles in your legs. All of the muscles in your lower body are used together when cycling. If you select a light gear, a flat road and remain at a steady state for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, you train your legs for stamina. You can't change the type of muscle fibers you have, so you may find endurance riding is easier than hill climbs, or vice versa. Regardless of the predominant type of muscle fibers in your legs, you'll still feel improvements.
Leg muscle power is a combination of strength and speed. When you cycle at a sprint pace up a hill, you're increasing your muscular power. If you cycle indoors on a stationary bike, increase the tension on the wheel and push the pedals at a fast pace to improve the power in your legs. This is very helpful near the finish line if you're a competitive cyclist, and can also help you overcome workout plateaus.
Regular, consistent cycling of at least one hour a week improves your balance, according to a study presented in the April 2013 issue of the "Journal of Environmental and Public Health." The study tested the results of 60 minutes of weekly cycling and the duration of a single-leg stand. The participants ranged in age from 49 to 72 years and showed improvement in the amount of time they could stand on one leg.
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